Large share: Orange kabocha squash, leeks, red potatoes, turnips, red cabbage, raddichio, kale, heirloom pears, sage
Small shares: Orange kabocha squash, leek, red potatoes, turnips, raddichio, kale, heirloom pears, sage
Dear CSA members,
Gorgeous fall day today on the farm, but of late it has been rather wet and sloppy out there in the fields! We have had a ton of rain in October which has quickly turned our farm roads into muddy messes. This time of year our harvest activities are slowed by stuck trucks and the extra weight of mud clinging to our crops as we haul them from the field for washing. We have at least one improvement up our sleeve this season with the addition of a four wheel drive tractor. This should make our winter root digging activities so much easier – with less downtime stuck in the mud.
It seems like all we do in the fall and winter is dig and wash tons of root crops. We still have huge quantities of carrots, turnips, radishes, rutabagas, sunchokes and more in the ground and will dig them for many weeks to come now. As we have fewer and fewer crew members this late in the year we often have large digging and washing days in which we can stockplie root crops in the cooler for later in the week. It is a nice way to space our workload throughout the week.
This time of year we must also keep a closer watch on weather, temperature, and hydrograph predictions. We live in an active flood plain of the Chehalis river and often loose crops and have access cut off by flood waters. If we are ready for floods and deep freeze events we can pre-harvest and save crops from being lost! We also need to keep an eye on windstorm events so we can save materials and greenhouses from damages. All part of our transition into the winter months.
Soon, as field workloads slow down a bit, we can begin to put time and energy into planning for next season. We will be spending time going over succeses and failures with crops for the year, inventorying seeds and supplies, and ordering for the 2017 season. I will start planting again in the greenhouses in January and will need to be ready to go again in about 8 weeks. Such are the cycles of the farming year! As for what we harvested this week, here is a quick rundown on some of the crops you will be enjoying:
Orange kabocha squash: These squat orange winter squash are popular in Asia and are also known as Japanese pumpkin. The flesh is an intense yellow-orange color with a sweet velvety and slightly dry texture. Great for making sauces, soups, sauteeing, and baking with. Before eating make sure the stem is very corky and dry which shows maturity. The squash itself will keep for many weeks if kept in a cool, dry location.
Heirloom Pears: These pretty little pears are similar in size and flavor to commercially produced Seckel Pears. They will ripen slowly at room temperature or could be held in the refrigerator for longer periods of time. These pears will be delicious eaten fresh, in baked goods, or as a garnish to a salad or cheese plate.
Turnips: The turnips turned out unexpectedly jumbo this week. They are not as aesthetically pleasing as I would like, but are large and damaged areas are easily trimed off leaving alot of delicious usable turnip. Turnips are great boiled, steamed, mashed, stir-fried, pickled and grated or sliced raw. Turnips will also keep for several weeks in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Leeks: Leeks are a member of the allium family of onions, garlic, scallions etc. They are milder, sweeter, and more delicate in flavor than onions are are often used in soups and broths. To clean, cut the leek in half vertically, and fan out the sheaves under running water to get out any dirt that may be hiding there. The white part is the desirable portion, as the green leaves tend to be tougher and stronger flavored. You can store leeks in the crisper of the refrigerator for several weeks if they are left untrimmed.
Raddichio: This hardy winter green is in the chicory family, it has a bitter taste that mellows with the onset of cold weather and also when you grill or roast it. Raddichio is an excellent addition to salads particularly when paired with cheese, fruits and toasted nuts. I liked this article from the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/21/garden/radicchio-tasty-but-so-misunderstood.html?pagewanted=all
Sage: This herb has been revered for centuries for both it’s medicinal and culinary qualities. It has a savory, murky, peppery flavor and pairs well with cheeses, meats and fish and is excellent in stuffing for poultry. You can save this fresh herb for several days wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer of your fridge. If you wish to save it for later I would recommend hanging it to dry in a cool dark place. Once dry the leaves may be used for many months.
If you are interested in purchasing bulk quantities of potatoes, beets, winter squash and more to supplement your CSA share and carry you through the winter months you may place orders on our webstore and we can deliver the produce with your next CSA share. Please indicate in the comments area of check out what drop site you would like the produce delivered to. Thank you! http://wobblycart.smallfarmcentral.com/store/wobbly-cart-farm
This week I have also included a flier from our friends at August Farm. They still have pasture raised pork shares available for this fall. Now is a great time to stock your freezer with delicious pasture raised pork. You can order a custom cut half or whole pig. Their heritage breed pigs are raised outside where they can graze, root and sun in the sunshine. They are fed locally grown, GMO free grain and dairy, fruits and vegetables from local farms. You can find out more information and place an order at http://www.august-farm.com.
Thank you and have a great week,
Roasted Kabocha squash with pancetta and sage: Preheat oven to 400 degress. Halve and seed 1 4 lb kabocha squash. Roast squash cut side down, in an oiled roasting pan in the middle of the oven until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle scrape flesh from the skin. heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a small deep sauce pan until it registers 365 on a deep -fat thermometer. Fry 20 whole fresh sage leaves in 3 batches until crisp, 3 to 5 seconds. transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cool 1/4 lb sliced pancetta that has been coarsely chopped in a heavy 4 quart pot over moderate heat, stirring until browned. Transfer pancetta with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pancetta fat remaining in pot, then cook 1 large chopped onion, until softened. Stir in 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 3 1/2 cups water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled wiht pancetta and fried sage leaves.
Frizzled Leeks: Cut 2 leeks (white and very light green parts only) into 2 inch lengths and then cut lengthwise into very fine shreds. Rinse the shreds thoroughly, using your fingers to separate the pieces and remove any grit hiding there. Drain thoroughly and blot dry with a clean towel. While the leeks dry, heat 2 to 4 cups canola oil in a deep pan. The pan should hold about 1 ½ inches deep of the oil. When the oil surface is shivering, add a few leek shreds and fry for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the leeks to a paper towel lined platter to drain and cool. The oil should be hot enough to crisp the leeks golden brown in about 10 to 15 seconds, adjust temperature as needed. Fry the leeks in small batches until all are golden and crisp. Lightly season them with salt and use for snacking or to top salads and creamy soups. They will keep in an airtight container for 3 days at room temp.
Parmesan Potato Gratin: preheat oven to 325. Brush the bottom of a 3 quart baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil; set aside. Shave 4 cups parmesan cheese into thin strips; set aside. In a small bowl combine 4 slices of crisp cooked and crumbled bacon, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives. In the prepared baking dish place 2 lbs peeled and finely sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with ½ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, half the bacon mixture and ½ tbsp snipped fresh rosemary and ½ tbsp snipped fresh thyme. Top with half the parmesan (2 cups). Dot with 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Repeat layers using 2 more lbs potatoes, and additional fresh herbs, and 2 additional tbsp butter. In a small bowl whisk together ¾ cup whole milk, ¾ cup heavy cream, and 3 tbsp all purpose flour; pour evenly over potatoes. Bake, covered, for 1 ½ hours. Increase temperature to 400. Bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown.
Grilled Radicchio: heat grill to high heat. Slice your radicchio vertically, and discard any bruised leaves. Brush the greens with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with good sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Turn grill down to med-low. Place the greens on the grill and cook turning every 1 to 2 minutes until the leaves turn a rich crusty brown on both sides. 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the greens into 4 to 6 servings and serve warm or at room temperature with additional vinaigrette.
Radicchio salad with pear, goat cheese and hazelnuts: In a large bowl whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar and season with salt and pepper. Tear up about 1 pound radicchio into bite sized pieces, add 1/3 cup blanched and toasted hazelnuts (almond and walnuts would work too) chopped. Serve salad topped with 1-cup goat cheese and diced pear.
SWEET AND SPICY ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH: 1/2 small to medium sized kabocha squash, 3 Tbs light brown, natural cane, plus a bit more for sprinkling, 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper or hot chili powder, more or less to taste, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 Tbs soy sauce Oil for drizzling – pumpkin seed oil is preferred, or use toasted sesame oil, argan oil, or walnut oil. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet or two with silicon baking liner or parchment paper. De-seed and cut the squash into slices about 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick. (Use a sturdy knife for cutting squash or pumpkin, on a stable surface, and be careful!) Combine all the dry ingredients. Toss the squash slices in this until coated thoroughly. Add the soy sauce and toss well again. Spread the slices in a singler layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle over them with the oil, and optionally sprinkle more sugar on them. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn over, drizzle with more oil and sprinkle more sugar, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Buttered Turnip Puree: peel and chop 3 large turnips. Combine with 1 quart milk, 3 fresh thyme sprigs, and 1 clove of smashed garlic in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the turnips are tender. 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, discarding the thyme but reserving the liquid. In a food processor, puree the turnips with 1 stick butter and 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.